Blogs, Vlogs, & Instagram: To Be or Not to Be Anonymous, That is the Question

Okay I’ll admit, this really isn’t that big of a deal for several of you here on WordPress. As I scroll through my reader, I see countless blogs with profile pictures of your actual face, and even your (supposedly) real names.

The internet makes it so easy to broadcast yourself but I honestly feel safer knowing that I remain anonymous as I share my life with a few of you here. With that being said, there are still people like me who remain anonymous and rely on their blogs name rather than their own.

So how do people decide to be anonymous or not? Does being anonymous allow greater freedom with our writing, or does it hinder it?

I have been writing online since I was 13 years old. That’s not really a shocker anymore considering the fact that 5th graders are already on instagram with much more followers than I currently have.

But back when I was 13, my mom was still on the fence about me even having an email.

An email address guys.

And in the light of the booming Facebook age, I was already far behind in the internet scene. Everyone was “poking” each other and sharing vague text posts, while I was left in the dust, not even allowed to forward those annoying chain emails that still haunt my former middle school self.

So mixed with the inherent paranoia I have gained from my mother’s constant warnings about the dangers of the internet, coupled with an ounce of rebellion I managed to squeeze out of my delicate heart, I made an email.

My email wasn’t anonymous, it was embarrassing yes, but not anonymous.

What was anonymous was when I joined an online writing site (Wattpad. I was in middle school okay). That isn’t a big deal since everyone on there is anonymous.

And since my early interactions with the internet was clouded in fear and paranoia, I’m 100% sure that’s what really spark my need to remain anonymous online.

My mom was just a really worried individual, and rightly so. The internet was this weird place where people can share any of information about themselves with the click of a button.

Even when I finally got a facebook (behind my mom’s back at first), my reservations about posting anything remarkably me, was something that I considered incredibly dangerous.

I refused to like anything, I refused to post any pictures, and I became a grade A lurker at the ripe age of 13.

Now that’s not the most terrible thing in the world, but I noticed this bled into all my other online activities.

Once I started writing on my early blogs, I refused to write my real name and instead came up with weirdly elaborate names. My profile was always myself, but with some abstract water color image that blocked my actual face.

So my reasons to remain anonymous stemmed from my early paranoia about oversharing, possible stalking, and any other wild plot line you can find on Lifetime.

I’m already an introvert, and rather than finding the internet as my way to voice my opinions, it became a way for me to hide from those I already know, and open myself up to strangers that don’t have a clue as to who I actually am.

And I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, or if it’s just a thing. I don’t really feel like I’ve lost anything these past few years because I haven’t posted anything on Facebook and Instagram except for the occasional “I should let people know I’m alive” photo.

The other reason, which is pretty connected to the first, is that I don’t feel comfortable sharing my honest thoughts with people that I do know.

With anonymity, I feel like there’s this hidden benefit where you can let out as much as you want. Since my blog is more focused on my experiences going through college, a lot of my posts are based on my personal feelings rather than say beauty blogs which are based on their views on makeup.

There’s a large vulnerability I feel with blogs that write about how they really feel, and I’ve seen so many people post these type of posts with their own profile picture and name which I feel is really brave.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m an introvert, and being anonymous allows me to voice my opinions without the possibility of being hurt from any attacks.

And no, not attacks as in internet creeps trying to find me, but personal attacks. Attacks that would say my writing isn’t up to par, or harsh judgments about my life. I would be protected from any of those things because of my shield of anonymity. I would deflect any negativity with a shrug and the close of the tab because inside I know they don’t really know who I am as a person.

But once my face is into view, and my identity is present, I feel like my power to shrug everything away would be gone. I would become a real person rather than a floating head, and I don’t know if I can stomach that.

Those are my reasons for staying anonymous.

I believe that being anonymous gives me greater freedom to express my feelings and experiences without having to worry if the person I’m writing about knows. I can also shield myself from any negativity people might hurl my way.

But I’m also wondering if being anonymous restricts my writing or online presence in any way.

At times I feel like I can truly connect to my readers if they just knew who I was. If I can just share pictures of my road trips. Share my name. I still “censor” a lot on my blog. Since I don’t want to use my name or face, I don’t give out details such as which college I go to.

I feel like those details are such a large part of my storytelling or blog posts, but I feel like I have to keep them hidden.

I know it’s not like I’m super popular online. I’m not some Hannah Montana figure where hundreds upon thousands of people are curious as to who I really am.

Yet at the same time, I feel like there’s something genuine about being able to share your smiles with the internet.

I’ve also expressed my interest in creating vlogs, (just like every other person out there aged 10-25), but I can’t help my interests.

My stubborn views on anonymity are kind of holding me back from trying anything else besides being a quiet blogger.

I know this was just a ramble, but I’m curious as to how many of you have actually thought about being anonymous or open out in the internet? Is this something you guys have debated over, or is it something you don’t really care much for? This is a topic I’d really love to hear from you guys 🙂

-Kae

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